The Fledging of Az Gabrielson (book, Jay Amory, 2006)


From SFX 146.

FOUR STARS

Jay Amory/Gollancz/347pages

Excellent post-apocalyptic children’s tale

A divided world of winged and wingless humans lies at the centre of this first novel from Jay Amory.

High up in the sky, the Airborn live lives of luxury, while below the thick blanket of clouds left in the wake of ancient catastrophe the Groundlings toil. But when the regular shipments of raw materials are interrupted, Azrael Gabrielson, an Airborn born without wings, is sent below to see what has happened in Groundling land.

The novel’s themes of unthinking faith, blind consumerism and segregated society, and the problems the “disabled” young hero must overcome, are perfect for the young adult market the book is pitched at. But don’t expect crossover into adult literature – the sci-fi world of the setting is too whimsical to cope with much scrutiny, yet not magical enough to stand as a Potter-type fantasy. All this, and the rather bluff humour and twee elements to the tale (all the Airborn have angel’s names, for example), would delight a youngster, but it is a little too slight for grown-up  SFX readers. Do, however, buy it for your kids.

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